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Executive Office of Environmental Affairs 
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An Introduction To OTA 

and TUR 

The Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance for Toxics Use Reduction (OTA) is a 
nonregulatory state agency that provides confidential technical assistance to help companies identify 
opportunities to reduce the use of toxic materials or the generation of toxic byproducts. Created by 
the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) of 1989, OTA's mission is to help companies 
of all sizes and product lines find ways to reduce the use of toxics or the generation of hazardous 
waste as a means of protecting the environment and complying with environmental laws, while 
remaining economically competitive. Since 1990, OTA's staff of engineers and scientists have made 
more than 1,000 on-site assistance visits to companies across the Commonwealth. 

What is Toxics Use Reduction? Toxics use reduction (TUR) refers to activities that increase the 
efficiency of the use of toxic materials at the front end or source of an industrial process. The 
majority of companies that adopt TUR strategies find that as a result, they lighten their regulatory 
compliance burden and save money as well. Standard TUR practices include: 


• Input substitution: Replacing a toxic or hazardous substance or raw material used in 

production operations with a nontoxic or less toxic material . . 

• Product reformulation: Changing an end product to make it nontoxic or less toxic upon use, 
release or disposal 

• Process redesign or modification: Developing and using production processes of a different 
design than those currently used 


• Process modernization: Upgrading or replacing existing production process equipment and 

• Improved operation and maintenance of equipment and methods: Implementing "good 
housekeeping" practices, regular equipment inspections and adjustments, process and product 
inspections, etc. 

• Recycling, reuse or extended use of toxic materials: Installing filter systems or closed-loop 
systems to reclaim or reuse materials, etc. 




How can OTA help my company with TUR? OTA's staff includes five teams of engineers and 
scientists, most of whom have previously worked in private industry, who will visit your company, 
walk through your processes with you, and recommend possible strategies for achieving efficient 
use of toxic materials. OTA sponsors public workshops - both industry specific and general -- on 
TUR, and staff members are available for telephone assistance. OTA also can help you with financial 
analyses to determine ways in which TUR makes the most economic sense for your firm. In addition, 
OTA staff can answer questions about compliance with state or federal environmental regulations. 
Remember, all of OTA 's services are confidential and free of charge. 

How does a company arrange for OTA assistance? For your convenience, we provide a variety 
of ways to contact us. Just pick Up the phone and call our office in Boston at 
617-727-3260, or fax your request to 617-727-3827. We are also available through e-mail: If you have a computer and a modem, you can post a confidential 
request for assistance on the OTA electronic bulletin board by dialing 617-727-5621 or visit our 
Internet Web Site to learn more about our services and staff. If 
you prefer, you can write to us at: Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Office of Technical 
Assistance, 100 Cambridge Street, Room 2109, Boston, MA 02202. 

OTA can help you: 

Review your materials use: what's used, where does it go? 

Identify which materials are toxic and quantify their use in relation to production 

Assess costs of toxics use and identify the sources of other environmental costs 

Identify environmental compliance issues 

Prevent wastewater contamination, avoid air emissions, and reduce or eliminate hazardous 
waste generation 

Increase worker safety 

Brainstorm operational changes to avoid waste generation, and thus improve efficiency, 
productivity, environmental performance 

Learn about new equipment and technologies, and identify alternative materials 

Learn from other companies willing to share information 

Form a team to investigate money-saving TUR opportunities 

Establish pilots, trials, test runs of TUR strategies and technologies 

Position your company for green markets